The Internet is edging closer to the Splinternet. The leading Republican candidate for U.S. president, Donald Trump, has referred to “closing” the Internet in areas where the U.S. has enemies, while China’s president, Xi Jinping, reasserted, at the second World Internet Conference (WIC) in China last week, that each state has a sovereign right to control what its citizens can and can’t do in cyberspace. The control by a state of “its” Internet has long been advocated by Russia’s government, while the European Union, following an October decision by the European Court of Justice, has released a General Data Protection Regulation that will determine how non-EU companies can market to or monitor EU individuals. That four such distinct political cultures could, for a mix of political, ethical, commercial and security reasons, all reach the same conclusion — that the map of the political world should become the map of cyberspace — suggests that the days of a universal Internet are numbered.

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